Nordic Optical Telescope
The building of the Nordic Optical Telescope near the time of sunset
|Observatory||Roque de los Muchachos Observatory|
|Location(s)||La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain|
|Altitude||2,382 m (7,815 ft) |
|Telescope style||optical telescope
|Diameter||2.56 m (8 ft 5 in)|
|Focal length||2.816 m (9.24 ft)|
The Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT) is an astronomical telescope located at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, La Palma in the Canary Islands. The telescope saw first light in 1988, and was officially inaugurated during September 1989. Regular observing started in 1990. It is funded by Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and (since 1997) Iceland. Access is provided directly to astronomers of the funding countries, and of all nationalities through international time allocation committees.
The NOT was the first major telescope facility designed to use active optics to correct the shape of a thin, lightweight primary mirror supported on actuators. The main mirror has a diameter of 2.56 metres (101 in), and it was produced by the optical laboratory at the Tuorla Observatory.
The NOT operates three instruments that can be mounted -only one at a time- under the Cassegrain focus:
- ALFOSC: a CCD camera and spectrograph. This is a versatile instrument that gets most time in the focus. It includes a polarimetry module that allows it to be used for polarimetry and spectropolarimetry.
- NOTCam: a near infrared camera and spectrograph.
- MOSCA: a 4-CCD mosaic camera, of high efficiency in the blue end of the spectra.
There are two more instruments, permanently mounted on a folded-Cassegrain configuration. Retractable folding mirrors allow to switch in short time from the main instrument to either of them.
- FIES: a cross-dispersed high-resolution echelle spectrograph, isolated from thermal and mechanical instability. This is the latest addition to the telescope.
- StanCam: a 1 Megapixel CCD camera. Less sensitive than ALFOSC, and with a smaller field of view, it works as a companion for NOTCam (providing optical photometry), or to react to "target of opportunity" programs when neither ALFOSC nor MOSCA are mounted.
The NOT has been host to a number of instruments on a "visitor" status.
- TURPOL: UBVRI Photopolarimeter. TURPOL has been at the NOT since the very beginning, but it is not available as part of the general instrument set.
- PolCor: a combined "Lucky" imager, polarimeter, and coronagraph
- LuckyCam: High frame rate, low noise CCD camera for lucky imaging
- SOFIN: High resolution CCD spectrograph. This instrument was first used in 1991, spent many years usefully at the NOT, and was finally decommissioned during 2014.
A new instrument for the NOT is currently under development, under the working name of NTE. This new instrument is meant to be mounted permanently in the Cassegrain focus, providing imaging and spectroscopic capabilities both in the full optical and near-infrared range.
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